While some think that the Global War on Terror is happily over… Raymond Ibrahim has a great article in Pajamas Media (reprinted in ME Forum): Words Matter in the War on Terror explaining very relevant concept of Jihad (which as of recently also officially became an unmentionable, at least in the U.S.) Ibrahim picks apart a piece by Colonel Jeffrey Vordermark, who attempts to explain – or rather excuse – Jihad to the gullible Westerners. I recommend the entire thing, here’s a short excerpt:
“Jihad” has a very precise, juristic definition; more to the point, Sunni Islam — which accounts for nearly 90% of the Islamic world — is, in fact, “simple and monolithic,” thanks to the totalitarian nature of Islamic law (Sharia), which categorizes all possible human actions as being either forbidden, discouraged, legitimate, recommended, or obligatory. Indeed, of the major religions of the world, none is perhaps so black and white, so clear cut as Islam, which meticulously delineates to Muslims the correct “way” of living (“way,” incidentally, being the literal definition of the word “Sharia”).
The real problem here is that Vordermark’s assertion that the military “jihad” has been “traditionally” limited to “defensive warfare” is totally false.
Even so, Vordermark is to be excused; he warns us about accepting definitions of “jihad” from “pundits, academics, and laymen,” and surely his falls into this category. Thus let us dispense once and for all with infidel-based definitions — including my own — and see what Islam’s own most revered authorities have to say about what “jihad” really means:
First, it needs to be borne in mind that Sunni Islam is wholly dependent on the various rulings (ahkam) of the so-called four schools of jurisprudence (al-madhahib al-arba’). I am currently reading an Arabic manual called Al-Tarbiya al-Jihadiya fi Daw’ al-Kitab wa al-Sunna (“The Jihadi Upbringing in Light of the Koran and Sunna”), written by one Sheikh Abd al-Aziz bin Nasir al-Jalil. After closely examining the word “jihad,” he concludes that “jihad is when Muslims wage war on infidels, after having called on them to embrace Islam or at least pay tribute [jizya] and live in submission, and then they refuse.”
The book also contains terse summaries of the word “jihad” from each of the four schools of jurisprudence, which have the final say as to how Islam — or in this case, jihad — is articulated: According to the Hanafis, jihad is “extreme and strenuous warfare in the path of Allah, with one’s life, wealth, and tongue — a call to the true religion [Islam] and war to whoever refuses to accept it”; according to the Malikis, jihad is “when a Muslim fights an infidel in order that Allah’s word [Sharia] reigns supreme”; according to the Shafi’is, jihad is “fiercely fighting infidels”; and, according to the austere Hanbalis, it is “fighting infidels.” (Note: “infidels,” or kuffar, simply means non-Muslims.)
In short, the “traditional” meaning of jihad is offensive warfare to spread Islamic hegemony — period. This is doctrinally, textually, historically, and consensually demonstrable. At any rate, who probably better understands what jihad means, the non-Muslim Jeffrey Vordermark or the Muslim Abd al-Aziz bin Nasir al-Jalil? More to the point, whose definition will Muslims actually take seriously?
Emph. added by me.
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center examined the casualty numbers in the recent Gaza op.
1,166 Palestinians were killed. Most of them (709) belonged to terrorist organizations , i.e., Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and others. According to the findings, 295 non-combatant civilians were killed , among them women and children. The identity and degree of involvement of the remaining 162 Palestinians (all of them male) are unclear (IDF Spokesman’s website, March 26, 2009).
Even though Hamas consistently distorts the numbers of casualties, it is the Hamas-reported numbers that Western media propagates, rarely calling them into question and typically without specifying the source. Some details of PR employed by Hamas:
4. During Operation Cast Lead Hamas adopted the policy of concealing its own casualties to prevent morale from flagging and to reinforce the (false) impression that Israel was deliberately directing its military operations against Gazan civilians. Surfers on PALDF, Hamas’s main Internet forum, were informed that it was strictly forbidden to post the names, pictures or any identifying details about “resistance” [i.e., terrorist] operatives killed or wounded until the end of the “Israeli aggression” in the Gaza Strip 3 (see the Appendix for the text of the instructions). In some instances reports were received of unofficial (and sometimes secret) and improvised burials during the fighting.
5. The policy of hiding the real number of terrorist operative casualties and issuing false reports about the number of civilians killed has continued after Operation Cast Lead . That was manifested by the creation of a false propaganda presentation of the mass killing of civilians in the Gaza Strip (the “holocaust” claimed by pro-Hamas propaganda) and the reduction or hiding of the blow dealt to Hamas’s military infrastructure and its terrorist operatives. All of the above were aimed at serving the “victory narrative” which Hamas has been carefully constructing since the end of Operation Cast Lead.
The recent wave of demonstrations around the world showed that so many readily believe in medieval myths of bloodthirsty Jews intentionally murdering innocents. From the videos I’ve seen and from my own experience, the rallying cry “baby-killers” was very popular this season.
Elder of Ziyon reflects on an effort to identify More of those “civilians” killed in Gaza – reported by “Palestinian human rights” groups, which are ether affiliated with the Islamists or too afraid to contradict them.